Risco D. Mention-Lewis, Esq
Suffolk County Deputy Police Commissioner
Suffolk County Deputy Police Commissioner Risco Mention- Lewis received a BA degree in Criminal Justice and History at the University of Delaware in 1983 and earned her Juris Doctorate at Hofstra University School of Law in 1993.
She began her legal career as a Nassau County Assistant District Attorney in 1993. She began as an Assistant District Attorney in District Court prosecuting misdemeanors and later became an Assistant District Attorney in County Court where she prosecuted felony cases. When litigating an attempted murder case in 1999 that involved teenagers, Mention-Lewis realized that young people were in dire need of new, comprehensive intervention strategies.
In 1999 she was asked to become a Community Prosecutor and was assigned to Nassau County District Attorney's "Rising Star" Program. This initiative was created by the District Attorney’s Office to reduce crime in specific neighborhoods by creating pro-grams for young people, assisting the schools and serving as “an ear” for the voices in the community. Mention-Lewis worked in communities like New Cassel/Westbury, the Village of Hempstead and Uniondale assisting others to bring resources, job opportunities and extracurricular activities to keep youth and young adults positively engaged. In 2005 she was honored with her promotion to the position of Unit Chief of Rising Star where she focused on gang prevention strategies. She later coordinated intervention strategies for Nassau County’s Operation Ceasefire.
Mention-Lewis also worked in the Community Court where she spearheaded the development of the Community Court Youth calendar. Her experience as a mother and Community Prosecutor helped her to develop individualized “contracts” for the young defendants to ensure that they were positively engaged in their communities.
In Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen M. Rice’s Street Narcotics and Gangs Bureau, Mention- Lewis served as the Chief of the Youth Development and Redirection Unit. This Unit created community partnerships to develop structure and opportunities for those previously incarcerated or at-risk for incarceration. Here she worked extensively on the District Attorney’s Terrace and Be-dell Drug Market Initiative (DMI) and was featured on ABC News, Primetime Crime. She worked closely with community-based organizations, local government, police, jails and ex-offenders to create a comprehensive network to address crime through intervention. In furtherance of the DMI, she designed and implemented the Council of Thought and Action “COTA,” a weekly support group for ex-offenders. Members of COTA have this to say about the support group: “I’m now a part of something and COTA kicked on the light!” and “When I returned from prison I thought I had a plan, but COTA gave me GPS.”
In August 2012 Mention-Lewis was appointed by the Suffolk County Executive to the position of County Deputy Police Commissioner, making her not only the first female to hold the position, but also the first person of color. Her work entails creating comprehensive programs to combat gang violence and recidivism through intelligence lead policing, community-oriented policing and assisting to develop Council of Thought and Action groups across the county. One of the SCPD initiatives she has begun is a Violent Group Insertion in partnership with designated school districts to identify and redirect those young people who are showing signs of gang posturing. “When we stop the entry…we have less reentry to do.” Deputy Commissioner Mention-Lewis also oversees the Suffolk County Police Community Relations Bureau.
Commissioner Lewis has been a consultant to the City of Chicago and has developed Council of Thought and Action Chapters across the country. She is also a founding member of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Incarceration and Crime and a member of the National Network for Safe Communities Leadership Group at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NNSC. The NNSC works to reform the national policy on Criminal Justice and is designed to advance crucial work to improve relationships between minority communities and the criminal justice system. In 2015 Deputy Commissioner Mention-Lewis was invited to the White House by President Obama to discuss decreasing crime and incarceration.
Commissioner Lewis is married to Russell H. Lewis and they have four children, Rayna, Randalle, Raven and Ramsey.